Victorian Tabasco Box, 1900

How the McIlhenny Company Protected Its Tabasco® Sauce Trademark

Dave DeWitt U.S.A. Leave a Comment

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From: The Trade-mark Reporter, Volume 10. New York: United States Trademark Association, 1920.

McIlhenny Company v. Ed. Bulliard

District Court of the United States for the Western District of Louisiana

April, 1920

Trade-marks—Geographical Terms—”tabasco.”

The word “Tabasco” is a valid trade-mark as applied to a pepper sauce manufactured in Louisiana, it not being used as a geographical or descriptive term.

Trade-marks—Registration—Effect Of Cancellation.

The cancellation of the registration of a trade-mark does not deprive the registrant of such common law rights in the mark as he may have previously acquired.

3. Trade-marks—Name Of Patented Article—Abandonment or Patent.

Where an article, designated by a certain name, was for a short time manufactured under a patent, but the patented process was soon abandoned, and an extensive business was built up under a different process, the article continuing to be known by the same name, the expiration of the patent did not cause such name to become public property.

4. Trade-marks—Name Of Patented Article—Use Of Name Prior To Existence Of Patent.

It seems that the right to use the name applied to patented articles does not pass to the public upon the expiration of the patent, where the use of the name antedated the existence of the patent, and where it further appears that the name and not the patent gave the article its value.

5. Unfair Competition—Imitation Of Packages And Containers.

Where defendant, manufacturer of a sauce similar to plaintiff’s, copied the printed matter on plaintiff’s bottle and carton and adopted a bottle and carton of the same size and shape as plaintiff’s, he was guilty of unfair competition, although certain differences between the bottles could be discovered when the two were placed side by side.

Suit for infringement of trade-mark and unfair competition. Decree for plaintiff.

Joseph S. Clark, Charles Payne Tenner, and Edward S. Rogers, for the plaintiff.
Emmet Alpha, for the defendant.

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